Cowboys 37, Giants 18

Cowboys vs. Giants: Good, bad and ugly

The Cowboys won their second consecutive game, and their fifth game of the season against the Giants on Monday night. Both teams got off to slow starts, but the Cowboys were able to overcome this setback and take a big victory in East Rutherford.

The good

Ezekiel Elliot had a great game with 23 carries for 139 yards. The Cowboys' offensive line was opening up holes left and right for Elliot to seemingly gain 5 yards on every carry. The offense relied heavily on the run game early on, but once Elliot got going, the rest of the Cowboys offense starting clicking as well.

The defense stepped up at pivotal times throughout the game. Sean Lee lead the game in tackles and had a key stop in the fourth quarter against Saquon Barkley. Xavier Woods had a pivotal interception in the 2nd quarter that would set up Bret Maher for a 52 yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 13-12. The boys never trailed again once they took the lead.

Dak Prescott got off to a rocky start throwing his first pass of the game to Giants Safety Antoine Bethea. The offense continued to stall until an 8-yard pass to Blake Jarwin that turned into a 42 yard touchdown. All of the momentum switched to the Cowboys after this score. We even saw the return of Dak's deep ball to Amari Cooper for a 45 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.

The bad

Injuries are continuing to plague the Cowboys, especially on the defensive side. Leighton Vander Esch missed his first game after leaving early with a neck injury against the Eagles in Week 7. He is still listed as day-to-day, but his presence was sorely missed. Safety Jeff Health left the game Monday night with a leg injury. After the game he received 12 stitches to seal a laceration he suffered saving a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the third quarter. He did not return to the game.

Penalties are still a big problem for the team. The Cowboys committed 10 penalties for a total of 104 yards. Tyron Smith committed two holding calls and Randell Cobb had two penalties against him as well. One negating a touchdown.

Michael Bennett's debut for the Cowboys was lackluster to say the least. He committed two penalties, one for offside and the other for lining up in the neutral zone. The offside penalty gifted the Giants a free first down. He did have three tackles and one sack, but he needs to work on not obtaining so many penalties going forward.

The ugly

For the third time this season, turnovers and lack of offensive consistency stalled the Cowboys offense in the first half. If they want success in their final eight games, getting off to good starts is key. Tougher teams like the Vikings, Patriots, Bills and Rams can and will take advantage of the Cowboys if they continue to get off to sluggish starts.

The cat was the most odd thing about this game. Although it was entertaining to see a cat run on the filed, it did delay the game for a couple minutes. This oddity ultimately resulted in a Cowboys victory so whose to say a black cat is always bad luck.

The amount of penalties called on both teams caused the game to go longer than a typical NFL game should have. Together there were 18 penalties for 175 yards. There were 22 total flags thrown in this game resulting in one of the longest games of the week .

Overall both teams put up mediocre numbers offensively in the first half, but once the Cowboys took the lead, their offensive struggles dissipated. The Cowboys now sit alone atop the NFC East with a 5-3 record, and the Giants sit in 3rd place with a 2-6 record behind the Eagles and ahead of the Redskins.

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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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